Luke Bryan Speaks Out After Receiving Backlash for Bringing Ron DeSantis on Stage

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Eric McCandless via Getty Images)

On Friday (October 28), Luke Bryan was performing in Jacksonville, Florida, when he unexpectedly invited Governor Ron DeSantis to join him on stage. Those in the building greeted the Governor with a round of applause. Unsurprisingly, however, the event quickly found its way to social media, at which point the immense waves of backlash began.

Today, Luke Bryan took to Twitter to give a rare response to his critics. In it, he claimed that his only goal was to raise awareness about disaster relief for Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian. He was not making a political statement.

“I typically don’t respond to stuff when I’m getting run down on a social platform,” he wrote. “But here’s the deal. I understand Governor DeSantis is a very polarizing figure. But I grew up in a country where if a governor asks you if they can come and raise awareness to help victims of a natural disaster, you help.”

“I’ve generally stayed out of politics throughout my career. I knew people would chatter about this,” Luke Bryan continued. “But for me, the more important piece was if I am going to come back there a few weeks after a large portion of people have been affected by a natural disaster, in a state where people have been good to me, this felt right.”

“Raise awareness, have a little fun between the GA and FL college fans before the game, and do what I love on stage. This is all I am saying about this,” Bryan concluded. “I’ll be outdoors with my boys. Enjoy your Sunday. Love y’all.”

Beneath the post, fans rushed to the country music star’s defense. “Thanks Luke for caring enough about the victims to raise awareness. Be strong and head held high!” one fan wrote.

Luke Bryan Contributes to Hurricane Relief Efforts

Luke Bryan finished his statement with instructions on how to support Hurricane Ian victims, punctuating his point. During the now-polarizing performance, Bryan announced that all the proceeds from his upcoming show in Estero, Florida, will be donated to the Florida Disaster Fund.

“Because of the hurricane, they had to use the venue that I was performing in as a shelter. Well, we’ve been going back and forth,” Bryan explained from the stage. “We didn’t know if it was too soon to play or not but the area of Estero said ‘get your ass to Estero’. So, we’re doing a concert.”

“So, what we’re going to do is give a large portion of the proceeds in Estero, Florida,” he continued. “To everybody that’s bought tickets, kept the ticket, and spending the money… I’m donating that money to the great state of Florida.”

Governor DeSantis then addressed the crowd himself. “The state of Florida had to deal with the major hurricane last month and it’s not easy to deal with,” he explained. “It’s hurt a lot of people. Though I can tell you this, show me any other state that can rebuild bridges in three days. I don’t think you can find that.”